Pasta Speciali at Spectra

Spectra at The Leela Palace is uber chic - stylish, elegant and luxurious. The restaurant is large and seating is interspersed between 7 interactive cooking stations.

Imagine a food festival dedicated to just pasta. There's more to the Italian staple than the few shapes our supermarkets stock as we were soon to find out. Invited to the Chef's Table at the restaurant to experience the Pasta Speciali, the menu has been curated by Executive Chef Dharmen Makawana. Our 4-course tasting menu was going to feature only pasta. Our group of 4 veered mostly to the vegetarian side, I was the only one who didn't.

The bread basket


Gnocchi a la caprese

The first course was gnocchi a la caprese where gnocchi dough was filled with sundried tomatoes, shaped like ravioli and pan-fried. Slices of bocconcini placed atop the warm gnocchi had the cheese melting onto it. Faithful to the caprese tag for the most part, there were also tomatoes, the cherry variety and a basil pesto.

Carbonara ravioli

Rigatoni with ragu

Carbonara ravioli looked like perfect little pillows stuffed with cheese. The sauce was a little thick while the pasta was doughy. The salty bits of bacon added a much-needed respite from the almost monotone flavours of the egg, cheese and cream sauce.

The ridges and hollows of the penne rigatoni held on to the delicious lamb ragu the pasta was tossed through. The pasta was slightly underdone but the lamb was perfect. Long, slow cooking resulted in meat that was very tender; tiny cubes of carrot added richness, sweetness and flavour to the braised sauce.

Duck cappellacci

Duck cappellacci was a stunner both in presentation and taste. I was only half listening to the chef as he explained how to confit duck legs and how to smoke the meat. The beautifully crafted tortellini stuffed with finely minced duck confit and a perfect accompaniment of artichoke puree had the rest of my attention. Sun dried grapes added bursts of sweetness and acidity while the thin slices of smoked meat were deliciously moist.

Pyramidoli of wild mushrooms and truffles

The plating of pyramidoli of wild mushrooms and truffles was a study in earthy tones. The dish was composed of little pyramid-shaped dough filled with a mix of finely diced wild mushrooms. Served with a smooth and rich porcini butter sauce, it tasted meaty and savoury. Shimeji mushrooms and Parmesan crisps contributed to more texture. Hard to believe that this is a pure vegetarian creation. The best was saved for last!
From the patisserie - opera; macaron; cheesecake; mango tart

Pasta Speciali has 10 specials on the menu, 5 of them vegetarian and all available à la carte. Prices range from 750/- to 950/- excluding tax. The promotion is on till May 30th, for lunch and dinner.

The Leela Palace Chennai
Adyar Seaface
# 175, Sathya Dev Avenue Ext
MRC Nagar, Chennai 600 028.

+91 44 33661234 


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